How to hire your employer

18. October 2016

Published on October 12, 2016

Featured in: Big Ideas & Innovation, Careers: The Next Level, Editor’s Picks, Entrepreneurship, LinkedIn

, Professor at Harvard Business School

My new book, Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice, debuted this past week, but it’s work that’s been nearly two decades in the making. For years my research has focused on understanding why good companies so often fail, a quest that led me to write The Innovator’s Dilemma years ago. But as I tried to answer that question, a new and pressing one emerged: how can companies know how to grow? The answer, I believe, lies in getting at the causal mechanism of customer choice – knowing why consumers make the choices they do to pick one product or service over another. To understand this, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a critical question to ask: “What job did you hire that product to do?”

For me, this is a neat idea. When we buy a product, we are essentially ‘hiring’ it to get a job done. If it does the job well, when we are confronted with the same job, we hire that same product again. And if the product does a crummy job, we ‘fire’ it and look around for something else we might hire to solve the problem. Every day stuff happens to all of us. Jobs arise in our lives that we need to get done. When we realize we have a job to do, we reach out and pull something into our lives to get the job done. When we ‘hire’ something to get a job done, we’re striving to make progress where we’ve been struggling. Jobs are not just functional – getting something done. They have critical social and emotional dimensions, too. Framing the question in this way has been a key to growth for companies as diverse as Intuit’s TurboTax, Khan Academy, and BuzzFeed. Read the rest of this entry »

The Holy Grail of Future Work

5. October 2016
Photo of Kelli Wells

Kelli Wells

Kelli Wells is Executive Director for Education and Skills at the GE Foundation. 

OCT 5, 2016 Project Syndicate

NEW YORK – Understanding the future of work is difficult, if not impossible. According to the MacArthur Foundation, 65% of today’s schoolchildren will eventually be employed in jobs that don’t exist yet.

As technology, globalization, and many other factors continue to redefine work, one constant will be the need for soft skills, or “skills for life.” Peer-to-peer deliberation, brainstorming, and collaboration are familiar to working professionals today, but we can’t assume that they come naturally, especially to the millions of students without access to proper training and college- and career-planning resources. In fact, a growing global skills gap suggests that many young workers are already falling behind.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy has 5.9 million job openings, while 7.8 million people remain unemployed. In Europe, 5.6 million young people are unemployed, while another two million are neither working nor in school. Read the rest of this entry »

Employers Find ‘Soft Skills’ Like Critical Thinking in Short Supply

31. August 2016

Date: 31-08-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Companies put more time and money into teasing out job applicants’ personality traits

Many jobs that can’t be automated or outsourced require such ‘soft skills’ as critical thinking, empathy, or other abilities that computers can’t easily simulate.

The job market’s most sought-after skills can be tough to spot on a résumé.

Companies across the U.S. say it is becoming increasingly difficult to find applicants who can communicate clearly, take initiative, problem-solve and get along with co-workers.

Those traits, often called soft skills, can make the difference between a standout employee and one who just gets by. Read the rest of this entry »

Replacing Steve Jobs: How Apple CEO Tim Cook Has Fared Five Years Later

22. August 2016

Date: 22-08-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Cook CCThe ultimate question facing Tim Cook five years into his tenure as chief executive: Are Apple’s best days behind it?

One of the most important succession plans in corporate history will hit a milestone this week.
Five years ago, Apple Inc.’s iconic and visionary co-founder Steve Jobs passed the torch to his handpicked successor, Tim Cook. The official transition took place six weeks before Mr. Jobs passed away.

Now Apple is the world’s largest company by market value and remains one of the most influential. Its $53 billion in net income last year was greater than the combined earnings of technology behemoths Facebook Inc., Google’s parent Alphabet Inc., Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Apple recently sold its billionth iPhone. Read the rest of this entry »

18. August 2016

Date: 18-08-2016
Source: TIME
Subject: 5 Things We Learned From This Mark Zuckerberg Interview

Including the best advice he’s received from Peter Thiel

zuckerberg-300x199.jpgMark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and one of its co-founders, is widely praised as one of the tech industry’s most successful entrepreneurs. Zuckerberg started Facebook with a few friends as a 19-year-old student at Harvard as way for students to keep up with their classmates—and find out which of them are single, among other things. Today, Facebook is a $350 billion company with revenue of almost $18 billion in 2015.

So it’s not surprising that Y Combinator, the prestigious startup accelerator program, selected Zuckerberg as the first guest on its new video series, “How to Build the Future.” Here are some of the most interesting comments from the interview with Y Combinator president Sam Altman:

Yahoo’s acquisition offer in 2006 was a pivotal moment for Facebook

“One of the hardest parts for me was actually when Yahoo offered to buy the company for a lot of money. that was a turning point in the company,” said Zuckerberg. “It was the first time we had to look at the future and say, ‘Wow, is what we’re going to build be actually more meaningful than this?’” Read the rest of this entry »

Intel’s New Mission: Find Fresh Uses for Its Famous Paranoia

15. August 2016

Date: 15-08-2016
Source: The New York Times

Kraznich CCBrian Krzanich, Intel’s chief executive, is scheduled to speak at the company’s Developer Forum in San Francisco this week.

Andy Grove, the renowned chief executive of Intel, who died in March, coined a phrase beloved in Silicon Valley: “Only the paranoid survive.”

That sounds cool, if you like your capitalism fierce. That idea, however, turns out to have some significant downsides.

Intel is the world’s biggest semiconductor company because when Mr. Grove was in charge, it dominated the personal computer industry and was an important player in the associated business in computer servers.

Today, the PC market is shrinking, hurting Intel’s profits. The server-chip industry is still strong, thanks to the rise of cloud computing at companies like Facebook and Google. Cloud companies engineer server chips in ways that make very powerful and flexible systems used by millions of people.

But Intel missed joining a number of other markets that did not look like the PC business, particularly smartphones. It is scrambling for a place in sensors (or what is called the internet of things), wireless networking, autonomous vehicles and other hot areas, as computing spreads from traditional computers to nearly every machine. Read the rest of this entry »

The HR Person at Your Next Job May Actually Be a Bot

3. August 2016

Date: 03-08-2016
Source: Technology Review

Chatbots are being prepped to take over many administrative tasks.

The next time you’re hired, you might find yourself getting information about payroll, vacations, and expenses by talking to a chatbot instead of consulting a handbook for new employees or talking to someone in HR.

A startup called Talla, based in Boston, is working on chatbots designed to help new workers get up to speed and be more productive. The company is using advanced machine learning and natural language processing techniques in an effort to create software that is smarter than the average bot. Read the rest of this entry »